LIRS Invites Applications for Immigration Detention Visitation Ministry Grants

WASHINGTON, Sept.19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) has announced that it will award grants of up to $2,500 to empower churches and organizations formalize, improve and/or expand service to immigrants in detention.

"On any given day, the U.S. government incarcerates more than 34,000 immigrants in a vast network of over 250 federal, private, state, and local jails," said Liz Sweet, Director for Access to Justice (ATJ), the LIRS unit that serves migrants impacted by detention. "LIRS is collaborating with partners in seven 'hub communities' throughout the nation to provide hope, strength, and a voice for these detainees, through supporting the creation and expansion of immigration detention visitation ministries."

"We're excited to work with our partners in seven 'hub communities,' which encompass Austin/San Antonio, TX; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Elizabeth, NJ/New York, NY; Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN; Seattle/Tacoma, WA; and Tucson/Phoenix, AZ," said Sweet.

"If your church or organization could benefit from a small grant to formalize, improve and/or expand service to immigrants in detention, LIRS wants to partner with you to educate, support and advocate for people isolated in detention," said Sweet.

Churches and organizations can download the short visitation ministry application (to be returned by October 18) and contact Julia Coffin (jcoffin@lirs.org) for more information.  All applicants are welcome; however, preference will be given to ministries working in LIRS's hub communities. 

The funds awarded will be drawn from a funding pool provided by Wheat Ridge Ministries, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.

"We're extremely grateful to Wheat Ridge Ministries, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod for enabling LIRS to support the creation and expansion of immigration detention visitation ministries," said Sweet.

"For people in detention, the months or even years spent awaiting asylum or another solution can be extremely lonely and full of fear. The legal process is complex and emotionally draining, while the detention facilities can be dehumanizing and potentially traumatizing for people facing possible deportation," said Sweet.

For more information and resources on immigration detention and visitation, see the LIRS series Bring the Sky and the report Unlocking Liberty.  For a closer look at aspects of immigration reform legislation dealing with immigration detention, see LIRS's in-depth analyses. For the latest on the legislative process on Capitol Hill, see the LIRS blog series "Immigration Reform 2013: The Update."

LIRS is nationally recognized for advocating on behalf of refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations, and for serving migrants through 60 grassroots legal and social service partners across the United States.

Press Contact: Jon Pattee
(202) 591-5778, jpattee@lirs.org

SOURCE Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service



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